As churches navigate through the challenges of the 21st century the ones that will survive will be the ones that understand and implement the three legs of being fully funded. Gone are the days that you can simply pass an offering plate on Sunday and fund all that you want to do. Giving to the church is continuing to decline and the Church is facing stiff winds in the future. Those churches that are doing nothing will cease to exist or at the minimum find their funding severely curtailed those rendering them ineffective. Now is the time to act!
One thing that separates us from most stewardship firms is our focus is not simply upon a capital campaign but upon the churches total stewardship outlook. I tell clients all the time that I am just as concerned about next week’s offering as I am the result of their capital campaign. It does you little good to raise mega dollars for a huge building if you can’t pay the electric bill or even the staff’s salaries.
You need to know and implement the three key legs of funding. The first is obviously building out a plan to see giving and givers increase yearly. As my friend and client, Ronnie Floyd the President of the Southern Baptist Convention told me a few years ago, “Pastors have to stop thinking about giving only when they have a capital campaign. They need to think about it 365 days a year.” That comment led me to start my giving program for increasing weekly giving called, Giving365. Find out more at http://giving365.com/
Next you need to build an endowment for the future. You have members nearing retirement or already in retirement who are thinking and planning for their legacy. You might think that only rich people have an estate but you would be wrong. Every person has an estate. Every person in your church can and should leave something behind to their church. I have several clients who have received significant six figure bequests that helped fuel their churches dreams. You can see the same at your church. A properly set up endowment can help you fund your future.
Finally, you need a capital campaign strategy. Whether it is to pay off debt, provide additional buildings or simply to fund the start of an endowment a capital campaign can give you another stream of revenue to fund your present and future. Done properly capital campaigns can unite your congregation around a single purpose and vision.
Combining these three legs into your long range giving strategic is crucial for you sustaining your churches presence in your community. I believe we have about a five to ten year window left to get our churches out of debt, endowed for future needs and fully funded for current missions and ministries. Now is the time to act! What are you doing to prepare for the future?
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach